the final frontier

“did you know that we are floating around in space?” my daughter inquires

 

my hands sub-merged in a sink full of suds

next to me, a counter stacked with dishes lined up, ready to go.

 

i ponder this question, letting it blow my mind as it branches off

into many splinters.

 

i took my time to think of this question.

let it sink deep into the skin.

deep into the bones,

deep into…

 

“well… mother?”

 

she pauses for a long deep sigh. the kind only a teenager could do.

rolling her eyes up and away, perfecting her new muscle

like she is learning how to tie her shoes

then she begins more sincere and direct,

 

“earth is a star in the milky way. we live on a planet, a big blue planet, which is mostly seventy-five percent water. (pause). that’s just like us,” she says with a nod. “we’re floating around in space!”

 

she stops to scrutinize me at the sink. i am listening and still trying to grasp

earth being in space, the immensity of it all. i don’t think i ever, ever thought about it this way before. seriously.

 

“seriously?”

 

she says this like she just read my mind then bursts out laughing,

a piñata bursting with sweet candy all over the place.

and then just like a bunch of kids she jumps all over it.

 

“mom…” followed by a long calculating pause

 

“you mean that you never thought about this before?”

 

more hysterical laughter.

 

“really, i don’t think i have, not like this.”

 

the hysterical laughter stops rather abruptly

like she didn’t want to hit a bump on full speed

 

she stops, momentarily, gathering all her wits,

all the angles she can come from. a mathematician,

yes, she is calculating.

before she has a chance to open her mouth

 

i say,

 

“that is so cool, man. when you really think about it that way, because you know, i never thought about earth being a planet and like, we’re floating around in space, and space, man… is like so big, like that just blows my freaking mind, man.”

 

my daughter walks away laughing

she leaves me with soapy bubbles clinging to my hands

and a towering stack of dishes

and call out to her “floating around in space, eh?

does that mean we’re aliens then”

 

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